AMN Reviews: Skrika – Fifth Nature (2021; Cryo Chamber)

This is one of those dark ambient albums that just does everything right. While there is no clear sound or texture that you can point to as being the most innovative, the combination of features undoubtedly is.

Skrika is the stage name of sound artist and composer Monty Adkins. Adkins has released quite a few albums of ambient and acousmatic works, but Fifth Nature is the first under this moniker.

In addition to drone and synth layers, Adkins employs crackling electroacoustic elements, sound samples, and multi-tracked wordless chanting from both female and male voices. In some tracks, the latter takes a form resembling a Gregorian chant or Baroque chorus, and is coupled to menacing waves of gritty synthesizer. The voices are also processed into demonic murmuring. This is music straight out of a psychological horror movie, with hauntingly tuned percussion and industrial rattling. Rough gurgling sounds suggest alien life forms being hatched from glistening egg sacs in dark caves.

All said, Fifth Nature is a strong and satisfying release that pushes the boundaries of this rough genre.